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Giovanni Bellini

Giovanni Bellini

(c. 1430 - 1516)
Born: Venice, Italy
Style: High Renaissance
Famous Works:
  • Madonna and Child (1455)
  • Agony in the Garden (1460)
  • St. Francis in Ecstasy (1485)
Great Venetian painter Giovanni Bellini studied under his father Jacopo Bellini, a relocated Florentine sculptor. Bellini's brothers Gentile and Gianlorenzo were also trained artists, and their brother-in-law, the great Renaissance painter Andrea Mantegna, complemented this powerful family. Bellini was greatly influenced by his friendship with Mantegna, a master draftsman and innovator of three-point perspective. Unlike Mantegna, who placed his signature emphasis on line and technical rendering of light, Bellini painted compositions that display a softness and warmth. There were many centers of power in Renaissance Venice, including fraternities of religious laymen. These groups granted Bellini many commissions, allowing the artist to rise to the apex of Venetian society, and to eventually start a bustling workshop of his own. Bellini's sphere of colleagues went beyond Venice and nearby Padua. He was also in contact with Piero della Francesca in Urbino. This relationship is revealed in Bellini's almost scientific exploration of perspective in his mature work. In 1480 Bellini was presented with the position of the head of the Doge's Palace workshop, where he became known for his images of the Madonna and Child. Towards the end of his long life, Bellini was the leading artist in Venice, teaching masters Giorgione, Titian, and Lorenzo Lotto. These artists became members of the Venetian Cinquecento, or High Renaissance, carrying on the tenets of unifying color which their mentor Bellini so sumptuously displayed. Bellini revolutionized Venetian painting, and established Venice as a center of Renaissance art.
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